I’m not decorating for the holidays as I have in the past. It’s not because I have lost my Christmas spirit, but because it will be just hubby and I here, and our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will be spent at my daughter’s place in Phoenix. Our grandson is there and the celebrating will go on in her house.
My son and his wife are in Florida so they are also doing their own thing as they wait for the arrival of my second grandson.
If we were going to host a gathering I would jump on the decorating bandwagon, but it’s just not worth it to me. I have a few special things I love that I will set up: my Byers Choice “A Christmas Carol” carolers. I asked hubby to put up a few lights around the front porch, and I put out my holiday dishware and serving ware.
Since I wrote the previous, my husband found a few boxes of Christmas decorations that belonged to his parents. After their passing we went to Reno and cleared out a storage area of things of theirs. This Christmas tree and these decorations were part of it. We now have a precious little tree decorated with ornaments gathered over their 50+ year marriage.
An important part of the holidays of southern Arizona is the making of tamales. One thing to note about Mexican food is the food is distinct to the region. It is my personal opinion – but there is no better Mexican food than Sonoran. You may have a different opinion but you are wrong.
REAL food doesn’t have orange cheese, it is only white crumbled cows cheese that comes from Sonora, Mexico. It is always fresh, and the ingredients blend well, not disguised by cumin and chili powder! Also our Christmas tamales have a green pimento olive inside that represent the baby Jesus.
So, when you enter a grocery store anywhere in southern Arizona at Christmas you will find a display like this:
The morning is going easily by, it started with a morning temp of 25° – BRRR.
It’s hubby’s last of four days off before his next four on; his work shift is four 12hour days. Long work days but the four days off is nice. We enjoyed our coffee together, chatting about the day to come. We’ve moseyed through the morning, hubby went to men’s group, and then we had a walk to the mail box (we are rural so it isn’t out front.) Millie came with us which made her excessively happy.
I have a young woman coming at noon to try on a wedding dress I made alterations to, it was her late mother’s dress so I hope she is happy with the way it turned out. I had such a wonderful experience with it and hope I can get the chance to do more things like this. I have two machines: a sewing machine and a serger, and they give me the tools to do most any type of sewing I desire.
One of our Christmas traditions is that hubby is responsible for filling the stockings. He takes this job very seriously and it is always a combination of toys or gadgets with lots of candy. Also there is always a Lifesaver’s book inside. As he starts to add things I hear him chuckle as he is thinking of their reaction to what he has picked for them.
Since we will spend Christmas eve with our daughter, and he is working Christmas day I hosted a get together for my besties and their spouses last weekend. I made shepherd’s pie with ground elk instead of beef, and homemade soda bread. I can’t have beef unless it is very lean like veal. It turned out pretty good according to all who sampled it. We also did an ornament exchange which was so fun with lots of laughs. We each brought a wrapped tree ornament, then drew numbers to pick in order. We only had one trade, and all were happy with their ornament.
Covid-19 struck me in the job hunting department. I sent in a cover letter and resume to Biosphere 2 for a cashier position. However because of the virus the attendance is down so no hiring right now “but they will keep my information.” Dang virus!
I got a good report from my vascular surgeon, and now I only have a few more follow-up visits. My incision looks good and not so noticeable. I was a bit self-conscious.
So all you fine folks are caught up on the Catalina AZ news.
The discovery of the medical condition that led to my right carotid endarterectomy surgery still exists in my body. But I can adapt and adjust, to arrest it’s progress and hopefully change the status going forward. I joyfully say I am at the end of post surgery two weeks of being careful and taking it easy and tomorrow I can get back into life…full speed.
At the bottom of this post are shots of my incision over the course of two weeks.
As a self professed ocean lover 💙 when I saw the Mediterranean Diet it made sense. Since its time to adjust my eating style and exercise efforts, pretending to be living in Greece or Italy while I do it makes perfect sense. 🏃♀️🚶♀️🚴♀️
So here are the diet deets, with the adjustments based on my medical needs.
The foundation of this plan is exercise, daily whether ten minutes or an hour, just move.
The next level is plant based. Fruits and vegetables – lots of them raw or cooked. I have a sweet tooth so snacking on fruit is starting to feed that. I especially love grapes, apples, mango and pineapple. We have a dehydrator, and so have started making our own dried snacks. Another good snacking item are nuts. I especially love almonds. However due to my Carotid Artery Disease (CAD) it is necessary that I avoid salt. Not completely, I can use some in cooking, but reducing it, so no salted nuts. I’m incorporating beans, legumes, couscous, Quinoa, and bran into my cooking. I am changing out butter for extra virgin olive oil and it works quite well.
The next level is where I get my protein – and my focus is fish, chicken, turkey and not much super lean meat. Again the CAD recommends no meat like beef and pork. I also add some dairy like eggs and fat free cottage cheese. I check every thing for cholesterol, fat, and sodium numbers.
The top level is what I call my treats like alcohol, baked goods, etc. Those are extremely limited in consumption for me.
So now I start watching for changes in my systems, and I have already noticed some. I feel different. My scar is healing but has a ways to go, and my energy is improving. As I get familiar with some recipes I will share those with you.
I am following the works of Dr. Kim Foster and Dr. Amy Riolo for guidance and information.
An exciting side note, I am doing a wedding dress alteration! It such a wonderful thing to know I can do something I love like sewing and actually get paid. How cool is that?!?!
It’s three weeks until Thanksgiving and about six weeks until Christmas.
My daughter and grandson live in Phoenix. My son and daughter in law live in Orlando. Hallmark channel is not helping.
I love the scenes of family gatherings depicted in these programs but they also make me miss having my kids with me. My daughter is a very manageable distance and I will be spending Thanksgiving with her. She and my grandson will be with us for a few days at Christmas. Lots of cooking, laughing, pampering, and fun will happen.
I am grateful for that time with them.
I hope and pray that one day my son will be in the place in life and job he can spend some holiday time with us. He and his wife are so much fun, and our times together are fantastic.
So I sit, looking through cookbooks, trying new recipes, thinking of decorating and having my babies with me.
It will be okay and the love will pass easily between us this season.
Today is going good so far. Its cookin for hubby day. I spend time each week making meals for his lunches. Some things are old standards like mini meat loafs with peas or green beans. Today is chicken marinara with penne.
I make what would be a meal for four, then divide it into four containers. I will include in his lunch bag a container of fresh grated parmesean. With a fresh fruit, peanut butter with celery sticks or crakers, a serving of greek yogurt which is good for his belly and he is set for tonight.
Another thing he likes is an Arnold Palmer. It’s easy, just iced tea and lemonade. He takes a big glass of that to work.
I love making sure he has a good meal for his work day. I walk him to the truck when he leaves, making sure to say I love you and plant a big kiss on him.
I have fun with cooking all kinds of things. One thing I like to do is to find an interesting recipe in a cookbook or magazine, and make it just as the recipe instructs. After it is made I start tasting the completed dish which leads to tweaking and adjusting until I have made a whole new recipe.
A recipe that is my own.
This process works because I have learned how to use various ingredients, and how different things affect the taste or texture of a particular food. What is wonderful, after I have made the dish my own, are the favorable responses by others to the foods I make. I think all cooks, chefs, and bakers enjoy seeing people relish a tasty treat they’ve made.
The most recent fun items I’ve come up with is a creamy homemade ice cream base recipe which is easy to flavor, and chewy cream cheese cocoa cookies.
I have also begun to write out these recipe and collect them in a computer file. You will find entrees, yummy drinks, desserts and breads. I hope one day to put them in a book to share. I don’t expect to be the next Ina Garten or Pioneer Woman, but these recipes have been enjoyed by family and friends.
A helpful part of my cooking is the wonderful shelf hubby built in the kitchen to hold pans, pots, and other things. It is made from a chrome shelf unit he had and he made the top of it from an old door. It is easy to see what I need, and there are outlets on the wall which is great for things that sit on top.
There are a few changes I want to make to my kitchen, especially the cabinets, but for right now everything is pretty much easy to grab and use.